Morrie Green

  Despite his conviction, Touhy was not giving up his fight. From prison, in 1938, Roger retained Thomas Marshall as counsel with his last $50,000. Marshall was one of the nation's leading criminal lawyers. After sifting through the evidence, Marshall was convinced of Roger's innocence, but decided that what was needed was a complete reinvestigation of the case. With Touhy's approval, Marshal brought in a private detective named Morrie Green, a disbarred lawyer who had once represented most of the Chicago underworld, including the Moran Gang's leader, Schemer Drucci.
   Green had also been the lawyer for super pimp and political pay-off expert Jake Zuta. In fact in that case, Green may have overstepped the fine line between lawyer and partner when Green's signature was found on several checks written from Jake Zuta to himself, and then signed over to a judge Joseph Schulman of the municipal bench. The judge said that he had business dealings with Morrie Green and that was why Zuta had the checks. Disbarred, Green spent the last part of his career as a private detective.
   An interesting note on Green-in 1959, long after the Touhy case, he would make the newspapers again when the underworld murdered Fred Evans. Evans and Murray Humpreys had started their criminal careers together back in the Roaring Twenties and by 1959 both of them were powerful men. Evans' loan-sharking operation eventually put him in touch with Lou Greenberg, a lowlife character who ran Capone's Manhattan brewery and the Roosevelt Finance Company at 3159 Roosevelt Road. Greenberg had his life snuffed out after he cheated Frank Nitti's adopted son out of his inheritance which Greenberg had been entrusted to hold until the boy came of age. Eventually Evans and Greenberg's widow, Esther, would become partners in a luxury hotel in Beverly Hills. Coincidentally, it was at that hotel in 1951 that wise guys from Chicago and St. Paul planned the execution of a Los Angeles reform mayor. Eventually the two made enough money to reinvest their profits into another hotel just inside Beverly Hills.
   By 1959 Evans was a rich man. His fortune was at least eleven million dollars in cash. Most of that was made in the early 1940s when Evans worked the inroads that Humpreys and Teddy Newberry had made in their brokerage firm shakedown schemes in the late 1930s. With Humpreys' muscle behind him, Evans ended up with part ownership of a discount brokerage corporation at 100 North La Salle Street in Chicago. By now Evans was considered to be the brains behind Humpreys' financial success and was widely thought to be the fiscal genius behind Frank Nitti's ability to wash the extortion money from Hollywood's Bioff scandal.
   The FBI made a customary stop at Evans' office and briefly interviewed him. He consented to answer questions, but was guarded in his conversation. While speaking with Evans, the agents weeded through a pile of useless information to find out that Morrie Green was a front for Humpreys in the Superior Laundry and Linen Supply Company which he owned lock, stock and barrel.
   It seemed, to Evans anyway, to be a fairly worthless piece of information-most law enforcement people and wise guys in Chicago already understood the relationship between Humpreys and Greenberg. However the FBI didn't know it. In fact in 1959 the FBI knew very little about organized crime.
   The agents took what they learned from Evans and confronted Morrie Green with the information and its source. Word got back to Ricca and Accardo and Giancana that Evans had talked to the federal government.
   The bosses sat in judgement with the evidence before them and decided that Evans had to be eliminated. It didn't matter what he had said; the fact was that he had communicated with the FBI. As a courtesy to Humpreys, since he and Evans went back so far, the boys asked if the Hump could come up with a reason not to kill Evans. Humpreys shrugged and said he had nothing to say on the subject. That sealed Evans' fate.
   Twenty-one days later, on August 22, 1959, Fred Evans finished up work at his desk. He had been going over his assets. Closing his books he scribbled "total resources eleven million dollars" on a paper which he left in the middle of his desk. He turned off his desk lights and left the office, walked to 5409 West Lake Drive, where his Cadillac was parked at a lot. As Evans walked across the lot, Mrs. Alice Griesemer of 328 North Lotus Avenue, saw a young man wearing a heavy winter coat, buttoned to the
neck, who had been sitting on a step for over an hour on an extremely muggy Chicago evening. As Evans strolled in front of Mrs. Griesemer's line of vision the young man in the winter coat leaped to his feet and ran across the street into the parking lot towards Evans. At the same time, another man holding a handkerchief across the lower part of his face ran out of an alley toward Evans. It took Evans and Mrs. Griesemer only a few seconds to see that both of the men had pistols in their hands. Evans stopped in his tracks and covered his face and yelled "No, don't!"
   The two men slammed Evans against a wall, searched him quickly and snatched an envelope from his back trouser pocket. Leaping backward they shot him twice in the head and twice in the throat. The shots in the throat were to let the underworld know that they suspected Evans of being a stool pigeon.
   The assailants leaped into a blue Chevrolet and vanished.
   Evans staggered a few feet back to his car and collapsed across the front seat. The witness, Mrs. Griesemer, on North Lotus Avenue, said "It was like watching a movie or a television show."
   When the police arrived they found Evans' body lying on an envelope that held a $5000 government bond. Further investigation of the contents on Evans' desk showed that he held about $500,000 in cash, jewelry, stocks and bonds and part ownership of two apartment buildings. In the end he paid the ultimate price for committing the underworld's one mortal sin-talking to the feds. It didn't matter that the information he divulged about Morrie Green's relationship with Murray Humpreys was old news to most; Evans sealed his fate by talking at all.
   In the last months of 1938, before becoming embroiled in the Evans shooting, Morrie Green was working as a private investigator for Roger Touhy. There's no doubt that the two men had known each other on the outside. Chicago's underworld was too small for them not to have known each other. "Morris," Roger said, "seemed a bit cynical when he first came to see me. He sat across the visitor's table in the long, narrow room where fifty or more convicts can talk with their lawyers or with their relatives on approved visiting days. I could see that Green wasn't happy with his mission." However, "Green surprised me," Roger said. "He was a jewel, a really rich prize....Morrie turned out not to be really a cynic. He was a kind, considerate, conscientious man...who had bitter disappointments in his life, and he had an understanding for informants like me. People expect to be bled white by private detectives. Although my legal expenses had been enormous, I still had about $50,000 which my family had salvaged from my ruined beer business. But Green charged only reasonable fees and he didn't pad his expense account."
   The first thing Green did was visit Buck Henrichsen, Touhy's former bodyguard. With Touhy in prison, Henrichsen found full time work for himself with Chicago's gambling czar, Billy Skidmore, at the mob's Bon Aire Country Club. The Bon Aire wasn't actually a country club at all. It was a posh casino owned by the underworld-mostly by Tony Accardo-and run by Skidmore, the syndicate's favorite front man. Each weekend buses owned by the mob delivered hundreds of gamblers to the club. Somehow, despite the casino's high profile, it was never raided.
   The fact that Henrichsen was working for Billy Skidmore was no small thing either. Roger had known Skidmore from his childhood when Skidmore ran a notorious saloon on West Lake and North Robey streets4 only a few doors down from the house where Roger had been born. Confidence men and petty criminals gathered at the saloon to divide their spoils, and gamblers and pimps arrived to pay their protection money. The place also served as headquarters for Valley pickpockets, sneak thieves and shoplifters of all sorts. Skidmore sold bail bonds to them all. But what Skidmore did best was to act as a go-between-firming up deals between gangsters and politicians-ultimately serving as the bag man when a deal was worked out.